Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Jul 14, 2007 07:58 PM

New Chantal Cookware - Copper Fusion

Does anyone have any experience with Chantal's new cookware called "Copper Fusion"?
Its promotional material touts it as quick-heating, stick-resistant, easy-to-clean, and durable, among other things. It's not cheap and sets are the much more economical way to go but I am not inclined to buy even so much as a small skillet without positive reviews. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Haven't seen it and won't waste time/money on any modern copperware. All of the odern stuff I've seen consists of a thin layer of copper laminated to a thick core of stainless, aluminum or some such other metal. They will surely cook just fine, but the copper is mere decor--oh, and for a generally huge price premium. The less copper is in the pan, the less it IS a copper pan. It's just a stainless pan painted copper, so to speak. Anything added to copper essentially interferes with and mutes the effect/benefit of the copper. That's why tin lining is best for copper--by weight, there's practically no tin compared to weight of copper, esp in a good copper pan: which Julian C always said should be the thickness of 2 pennies. (Though I've seen many restaurant saute pans much thinner.)

    There are 2 advantages to copper. One, which everyone cites, is even heating. That's not really such a big deal; even heat's no trick any more. Much more important and far less known is transparency to heat. Copper heats like lightning--and when you turn the heat down, it cools fast too. Either way, there's very little lag, so the pot responds to what you want to do with the food. Copper does not store residual heat that keeps cooking food after you've reduced heat--at least not to the extent of cast iron, etc.

    That said, there's little reason to have copper for anything but pans used over high heat--saute pans, skillets, frypans. Copper stock pots are dramatic things, but they really don't do anything that any other well-made pot will do over well modulated heat. Copper pots have traditionally been ALL copper because laminating metal is a rather new development. Even so, high-heat pans need copper only on the bottom--where heat is applied. The old Revereware line probably had it right--copper bottoms, stainless elsewhere.

    Of course, cleaning copper is a trial. Salt and vinegar is i believe the customary restaurant treatment--it gives a nice satin glow. The new-penny shine, so popular in magazine layouts, can be achieved only by elbow grease and noxious polishes--nd it disappeares the first time heat is applied.

    I once got good results by boiling my copper in vinegar but the effort and expense of boiling fives gallons or so of vinegar was such that I didn;'t repeat the experiment.

    What;'s your method?

    4 Replies
    1. re: billmarsano

      Thanks, billmarsano, for your reply. However, Copper Fusion is NOT a copper pot per se. There is no visible copper. A copper plate is fused into a carbon steel core. The interior is a stick-resistant enamel. You might want to go to the Chantal site to see. The pans look nothing at all like either traditional, tin-lined copper pans or the Revere copper-bottom pans from forty years ago. At the risk of appearing to be a shill for the company, the pans do appear to be an innovation not yet copied by other manufacturers.

      If anyone else has the pans or has been to a demonstration of them, I'd be interested in learning of your opinions.

      1. re: rexsreine

        The carbon steel might be a good idea if you have an induction cooktop, but otherwise I don't see the benefit of this pan.

        Carbon steel's greatest benefit is that it is inexpensive and sturdy -- there are folks that have used such pans in commercial kitchens for decades. Enamel coating are not nearly so durable. Every kind will eventually wear down. Similarly, though Chantal touts the "lack of rivets" as a feature that allows seamless interiors, the method of handle attachment they appear to have choosen is one of the worst: directly accessible screws -- these will almost certainly loosen and then tempt you to "self tighten" leading to worse problems. While they say the enamel surface is as "stick resistant as one can get without a non-stick coating", I say this is hype -- pretty much all cookware testing has shown that the best sear and fond is developed in SS or seasoned cast iron. Enamel coatings are not preferred for this. That will probably not stop Chantal from shopping for "celebrity chefs" and cooking shows to endorse this...

        Lord knows I love to play with tools of all kinds, and I may very well try out this offering, but I do not consider what I've seen so far to be any kind of a breakthrough, merely "old wine in new bottles"...

        1. re: renov8r

          Disagree about enameled pans losing their interior coating. I inherited a Le Creuset frypan in heavy use for 25-30 years, and the interior remained in excellent shape; I tossed it only when the welded handle broke off.

      2. re: billmarsano

        Copper is great to cook with, whether stove top or oven. Been using it for more than 30 years. But! Copper is useless on the new induction cooktops, and if you want to wrestle your utility bills to the floor, induction is the way to go. So Chantal's cookware is a lot more than "just" copper. It provides the benefits and "transparency" of copper with the induction friendly benefits of carbon steel.

        For the record, there are easier ways to clean copper than emersing and boiling it in vinegar. That sounds like the 13th labor of Hercules! Simply take a lemon, cut it in half, then sprinkle some table salt on the bottom of the pan and rub it with the lemon. Work your way up the sides. It's a method I learned in the Middle East, where it has been used since the Bronze Age. Or an even easier method is to search out some Twinkle copper polish. But the lemon and salt is cheaper. Of course, you can simply let your copper take on an aged "country look" by not polishing it at all.

        As for only needing copper for stove top cooking, who needs to keep several sets of cookware? Copper in the oven is great, and its even heating qualities work well there too. And it's a heck of a lot lighter than my Le Creuset, for example, which has become more and more decorative than functional as the years go by.

        As for induction cooking, it's a stove top only method and works by magnetic power. Heats the pan, not the cooktop. BUT! It ONLY works with materials that a magnet will stick too. So if you have an induction cooktop on order and you're shopping for pots and pans, take a kitchen magnet with you. Induction will not work with "ordinary" stainless steel, any aluminum or any copper that is not bonded to a ferrous metal.

        Happy cooking!

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. Thanks to those who replied, but the responses here indicate a real problem for the Chantal corporation. They obviously should NOT have named it "Copper" anything. The remarks here indicate that it is assumed that the cookware is copper-colored (or partially so) and merely a variation on traditional copper pots. NOT TRUE! Please see the Chantal website.

          I am still hoping that someone who has has SEEN the cookware, seen a demonstration of it, USED it, or KNOWS someone who has used it will comment.

          1. re: rexsreine

            I actually have a piece of the Chantal Copper Fusion and I absolutely love it. I have the 8" fry pan (it was the "try-me" special for only about $50) and I plan on getting the whole set. I've used it for about a month, almost every day, and it really is high quality. I was turned onto it when I was at Kitchen Classics because they were having a staff training on the pans, so I got to see it in action, and I was really impressed! Since it's the smallest size, I haven't been able to experiment too much with it, but I have made tilapia, salmon, eggs, chicken, oatmeal (weird, huh?!), and a couple of other small dishes. I think my favorite part about it is that it cleans up really easily, and it still looks just as good as the day I got it. I'm excited to get the whole set - I currently only have a few essentials in my kitchen, so it'll be nice to have a pan to go to no matter what my job is! I wish the set came with a saute pan, though. I'm going to see if maybe they'll exchange out one of the other pans (I already have a stockpot at home, so I don't really need 2) for the saute - I think I would use that the most. As far as the "stick-resistant" thing goes, you do need to use oil or butter for most things (amazingly, not the oatmeal!). I actually learned how to fry an egg correctly because of my little fry pan! I didn't know that you don't actually need to flip an egg when you fry it (it looks much nicer if you don't), and if you do in these pans, the fresh side will stick because all the butter is on the cooked side. I got a bunch of tips when I bought the fry pan, and this stuff is a little different than I'm used to. For one, you don't go by the traditional "heat your pan, heat your oil, then heat your food". It actually seems to work better if you only let your pan get a little warm before you add your food, and then you can crank up the heat. They said it's because when the fat heats up it tends to all pool together, and you don't want to leave a portion of the pan exposed or you'll encounter some sticking. Even if you do make a mess of eggs in your pan (I tried eggs without any oil - it was stupid, I know!), it cleans up so easily, you'll be back for round two in no time! Another different thing is that you can clean it while it still hot, and it won't warp or crack or anything. I just stick it in the sink and wipe it with a sponge while it's still hot, and it cleans up with hardly any effort. Geez, I sound like a commercial for this stuff! I really do love it, though! I also like that the company has chosen smaller businesses to carry it. They actually hand picked the few places that have it, because they wanted it to be for serious cooks, not just for people who want a pretty red pan hanging in their kitchen. So you're not going to find it in the bigger chain stores, and that's just fine with me - I would rather support a local business anyway! Well, I hope this helps with your research. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

            1. re: ckone1

              I was THRILLED to see your answer, ckone1. You must be in Phoenix (I'm in Scottsdale). I love Kitchen Classics, too, and will have to get myself down there to check out those pots.Also sounds like the staff at KC will know what they're talking about when discussing these new pans. Like you, I don't need another big stockpot - and certainly not a very expensive one - but I would be very surprised if they'd change out a pot from what is sold as a set. At any rate, a very BIG THANK YOU for your on-topic and informative reply!

              1. re: rexsreine

                Oh, they do stuff like that all the time! When I was there, they were talking about how they weren't 100% pleased with what's in the set, so they were going to try to get Chantal to do a special Kitchen Classics Set ( I guess Viking put together a special set for them last year). I bet if you called and talked to Shawna (the owner) she would work something out. I'm going down there tomorrow to get my set, so I'm going to ask her when I'm there. I'll still get the set even if they don't switch it, but it would be so nice to have that pan!

                1. re: ckone1

                  Glad to know that Kitchen Classics is doing so well - figure they must be if Viking did a special set for them. I'll be there this week with my checkbook open (at least for a little pan!). If you have the time after you use some of the other pans, a report would be appreciated. I am particularly interested in how the pans handle foods like puddings and bechamel-type sauces and if they produce a nice fond when sauteeing meats.

              2. re: ckone1

                My husband and I just bought the 9 piece set of chantal copper fusion cookware and are having a really big problem with food sticking to it. We have followed the directing and heated oil in the bottom of them pan before placing food in but it doesn't help. Any tips? We bought it because our sister-in-law highly recommended Chantal and I love to cook on her enamel on steel set but so far we have been so disappointed we are ready to return it.

                1. re: mustardseed82

                  did you clean of the food grade wax coating first Use the Chantal cleaner and the coating disappears and then easy clean up from that moment on NOthing will be nonstick but enamel is healthier and the cleanup after the cooking is the focus Yes eggs may cook a bit as you learn It is a whole new skill to learn and then it will not stick ( maybe minimal)as you get used to the pans

                  1. re: mustardseed82

                    I have Chantal EOS and some of the copper fusion - biggest mistake I made was keeping the heat too high. These pans heat quickly and hold the heat - turn down your burner. Also use a light oil - the pan should would great.

            2. Hey rexsreine
              thought you'd like an informative response. You are correct that the copper is inside. It is fused with a layer of steel on either side, forming a new alloy, hence the fusion part. I saw it in use and was pleasantly surprised by it. I was surprised mainly by the weight of the fry pan. It felt like Viking in it's heft. Chantals fusion cookware is covered with enamel on both sides. It is non porous so it can be used for acidic foods (tomatoes, wine sauces, etc) Since it is non porous you can store your food in it (it's one of their selling points but I rarely if ever store my food in the pan I cook it in) It's dishwasher safe and oven/broiler safe. It will maintain it's color over the life of the pan. It's easy to clean (nonstick due to the enamel no teflon or teflon like chemical) Handle stays cool. Oh and a neat thing is that the glass lids that come with the pans slide over the handle so if you store your pans upright/hanging they just slip over the handle for easy storage with the pan. Oh and ckone1 is right about the heating of the pan. Grease the pan with Pam or butter then heat it up on low then add your food. Since there is copper on the inside it heats up quite nicely and since like most copper pots and pans you don't need to use very high temperatures. Hope this helps. I work retail and just had a demonstration.

              2 Replies
              1. re: tarheelfan1

                Thank you, Tarheel! (BTW, I'm married to a TN Vol! I am Westerner by birth, but NC is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places I've ever seen.) Since you saw a demo, can you comment on either the browning and fond production capabilities of the pans or how milk-based sauces and puddings fare?

                I am so happy to have received several INFORMED, on-topic responses to my question! Thanks again, Tarheel!

                1. re: rexsreine

                  Sorry rexsreine for the long time in response but I am busy packing up and moving this summer. They did not demo any milk based products or puddings, or meat so I can't answer those questions. Sorry. I came into the demo when they were cooking an egg and they did one over easy and then one they scrambled and they both slid right off the pan. They are coming back to the store later in Oct. I think to demo more stuff.

              2. Sounds like you found a local store that has them, but I thought you'd like to know that the set was at the International Home and Housewares Show 2007, and that HGTV featured it in their special of the same name. My wife and I registered for a different cookware set, but have changed our mind since seeing the special. We love the chemical-free non-stick surface and the copper core.

                3 Replies
                1. re: brydesigns

                  To tarheelfan1: Thanks for your response. If you see any more demos, please report if you have time.

                  To brydesigns: Thanks for the tip on the HGTV special; I'll try to find that. BTW, have you used the cookware? If so, what do you think? My weekend plan calls for a trip to the local cookware store carrying Fusion and the purchase of the small skillet. I'll report.

                  1. re: rexsreine

                    rexsreine - I am interested in this cookware as well. Have you had a chance to try it out yet? Update please!!

                    1. re: schex001

                      Schex001, I went to the local kitchen store handling Copper Fusion and they kindly allowed me to actually take the small skillet home to try at no cost. I've had it for a couple of weeks. It takes a few minutes to heat up - longer than I'm used to - but then it retains heat very well and cooks very evenly. It's not completely non-stick like a brand new non-stick pan, but I have no major complaints in this area. It cleans up like a dream and looks great. In fact, when the kitchen store gets in their new shipment of individual pans and sets, I'm going to buy a small set.

                2. The Copper Fusion line of cookware from Chantal sure looks pretty

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ceekskat

                    I bought an 8 inch enamel on steel Chantal saute pan from Whole Foods last week to check it out...thus far, I've fried eggplant in it and done a couple egg white omlettes...i think it heats up really fast, but the heat is really even and no stickage (even with cooking spray)....i'm gonna see how it lasts before investing in another pan, but I like the idea of enamel versus teflon (the reason I bought it in the first place)....
                    So, as per yer question, so far so good...i'll keep you updated.

                    1. re: sixelagogo

                      My local independent cook's store got in a large shipment of Chantal's Copper Fusion a couple of days ago. I thought I'd buy only the small set, but ended up with the large know how that goes! Couldn't wait to get it home and start cooking. It is GREAT. I made a cream-based tomato soup in the three-quart pan and it simmered beautifully. Sauteed meatballs in the eleven-inch skillet and they came out lovely and well-crusted. The pans were a snap to clean. My DH commented on how good-looking the pans are. I got the platinum color, which coordinates well with our current black glass stove and will be killer on the new gas stainless cook top going into the new house. I've had Calphalon, Emeril's, Scanpan, Circulon, and Le Creuset over the years. I also currently have a couple of Swiss Diamond pans. So far, the only pans I haven't had to throw out after five years of extensive cooking have been the LeCreuset. Jury is still out on the Swiss Diamond since it's only a year old, but one of the skillets is already showing a little wear, so I have my doubts. But something tells me this Fusion ware may rival LeCreuset in longevity - and it's certainly much easier to clean and is practically non-stick. And, no Teflon. Just makes me want to cook all day!

                      1. re: rexsreine

                        I'm trying to decide between Calphalon and the Chantal line - is the difference so significant in cooking that it's worth the extra money for someone who's a novice cook?

                        1. re: NoviceNCcook

                          You can read my previous posts and I'd like affirm my delight with these pans. They cook very well and clean up beautifully. I don't put them in the dishwasher (you really don't need to). Well worth the cost. Having said that, I still use a non-stick pan for eggs and cast iron for country ham, cornbread, or when I need an especially hot searing surface. I've had a few pieces of Calphalon and found it didn't hold up all that well - looked very bad after a couple of years.

                          1. re: rexsreine

                            Hi Rexsreine:
                            I recently saw the Chantal line at my local store in Eugene, OR and while researching their line, discovered your informative thread.
                            It's been 3 months since your post. When you have a moment, could you please give us an update re: how you're still liking their Copper Fusion cookware?

                            1. re: samlau

                              Sorry, samlau, just saw this. YES, I still LOVE my Chantal Copper Fusion. We use it every single day. The pans cook beautifully and hold heat extremely well. We wash them by hand (I find the dishwasher very tough on pans of all kinds.) but they are very easy to clean and look great. I'd get them again in a heartbeat.